Project Backpack:
A Relief Effort for the Children of Katrina

1/14/2006:
Thank you to everyone who has helped!
Over 50,000 backpacks sent to the kids.
Over 650 holiday gift letters to over 50 schools.

Project Backpack helped light National Christmas Tree on 12/1.
See: White House speech text, AP story, Lighting of National Christmas Tree and Project Backpack - Video,
President Bush full speech at National Christmas Tree, Media inquiries click here.

New Year Gift Letters -  We got and sent over 650 holiday gift letters.  If you are only now finding out about this effort, you can still write letters/cards of encouragement with your children or yourself and enclose $20 gift card from national retailer and mail to Project Backpack - Holiday Letters, PO Box 30408, Bethesda, MD 20824-0408.  We will continue to check PO Box and forward to kids at the schools - schools with evacuee children.

Holiday Gift Letters - Click here for details and how to help.

Our Story - Backpacks filled with love for over 50,000 children of Katrina/Rita.
We are thousands of kids and parents across the country who sent backpacks filled with love to the kids of Katrina.  Project Backpack was started by three sisters (14, 11, and 8)
in Bethesda, MD with a goal of 1,000 backpacks on 9/1/2005.  In one month, we collected and sent more than 25,000 backpacks to the kids.  After two months, we sent 50,000 backpacks from more than 100 community efforts in 25 states to the kids of Katrina. We launched a holiday effort after helping to light the National Christmas Tree with President and Laura Bush on 12/1/2005.  Join us and send letters of encouragement and a gift card to the kids at schools in LA, MS, TX, and other states.
Learn more - listen to NPR audio of kids packing backpacks, watch backpacks being delivered in Houston, read book of stories about efforts, see pictures and read news stories of backpack efforts, about us.

Goal:
Project Backpack delivered more than 50,000 backpacks to children of Katrina.
We delivered over 650 holiday gift letters to over 50 schools.
Now, in 2006, we are trying to see if a group of volunteers will help create a children and/or adult book about Project Backpack to help continue the efforts in 2006.

How You Can Help
1. Join email list for updates or if you want to volunteer to help -
Click here and enter your email address

Open Creation Website
This effort is an open source, open creation, grassroots effort.  This part of the website is open for all of you to add, edit, and change.  Please add your ideas, suggestions, and questions, and take ownership of parts of project.  We are getting it all done together, across the country.  Everyone involved is a coordinator, including you.  This is a very unique approach to an effort, but it has worked to get things done fast and organized.  Click for the open creation website.

Contact Info
Everyone involved is a coordinator, including you.  If you cannot find information you need please email Steve Kantor, Coordinator.

Updates
This website was launched on Saturday 9/3/2005 around 9am.  We had a goal of 1,000 backpacks.  Just 10 days later, more than 100 volunteers had collected and shipped over 10,000 backpacks.  During September, more than 30 cities joined us, and we reached 25,000 backpacks.  By middle of November we collected over 50,000 backpacks.  Then the White House called and asked the Kantor girls to help light the National Christmas Tree.  And we started Holiday Gift Letters as a final effort to help.  We collected over 650 holiday gift letters.  As of January 2006, we are phasing down efforts, but will keep website active.  We have developed a nationwide network of volunteers who may help in a future need for children in a disaster.

Thank you note from a school about Holiday Gift Letters
Our children received the gift letters on yesterday, and were so excited about being able to write back to the children who sent the cards of encouragement.  Thank you and God bless you and your daughters for such a generous offer.
 
Mrs. G. Turner
Turner Christian School

Story from a mom about her son packing a backpack
"Nate even sent his favorite airplane, the one that never leaves his clutches, and offered his bed as well (um, Nate, it won't fit in a backpack, sweetie). Then, this a.m., when we were watching the Today Show as we were getting ready for school, he saw the Astrodome, and all those people on cots, kids running around, and asked: "Do they have our backpacks?"

SO, thank you thank you thank you -- for giving all of us a way to help, and to feel better in the process. Best of luck, and if this project morphs into something else, keep me posted on ways I can help."

Send your friends and family to our website - www.projectbackpack.org - Thank you.